Kids, Sleep and COVID-19
Boost your child’s immune system during COVID-19 Pandemic with quality sleep
Research shows that quality sleep is essential when it comes to health for both children and adults. Ensuring that your child gets an adequate amount of quality sleep can help boost their immune system and keep families healthy. This is a high priority during COVID-19, but also vital for health year-round.
Many kids today are struggling because of schooling issues, not being able to see their friends or play sports. They are not expending the same levels of energy as before COVID-19. Everyone’s routine has changed. Children may feel our stress or be anxious from listening to the news. All this can lead to poor sleep resulting in more meltdowns and unwanted behaviors.
A child’s poor sleep can be due to many issues like:
- Lack of stimulation (physically and mentally)
- Increased screen time with TV, computers, video games
- Increased feelings of stress and anxiety
If your child is consistently not getting enough sleep,
they are three times more likely to get sick.
Sleep helps your body (adults and kids) produce immune-boosting cells to protect us.
That’s why, when we get sick, we also get tired. Your body is telling you that you need sleep to heal.
While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your child’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible.
The National Sleep Foundation has these recommendations for children:
Under 1 year of age: 12 to 16 hours a day
1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours a day
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours a day
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours a day
13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours a day
5 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP
- Make a schedule for sleep and daily activities (for both you and your children) – and do your best to keep consistent.
- Stop screen time 60 minutes before bedtime- Intense, close-up light exposure in the evening will delay sleep by not allowing the body to produce melatonin, the good sleep hormone. This is especially important since our kids are using more screen time during the day.
- Get sunlight- Try and get outside. Open up your blinds, take a walk, or play outside. The sun controls our internal 24-hour clock that tells our body when to be awake and when to be asleep. If your child’s body doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will mix up their days and nights.
- Your child needs physical activity – Kids days have likely gone from active to sedentary. The harder they play, the more their body will need to recover, and the better they’ll sleep.
- Create a calming routine – This routine should be at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Things like a warm bath, a good book, (no screen time), do a puzzle or something quiet. The best sleep results come from a routine that’s calm and technology-free.
Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than just getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice stay-healthy strategies too.
Steps to Keep Children and Others Healthy
- Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
- Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. Keep children at least 6 feet from other people.Consider postponing visits or trips to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters.
- Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) the other everyday preventive actions listed above.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, desks, toilets, and sinks).
- Launder items including washable plush toys, as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
Make sure your children are up to date on well-child visits and immunizations.
Following guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be particularly difficult for children. Stay patient. Be a good role model and your child will be more likely to follow your lead. And remember, you children will be able to bounce back faster if they get sick if their body is well rested.
If your child continues to have sleep issues, or if you are concerned that your child may have a sleep disorder, the pediatric sleep medicine physicians at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center are here to help. Give us a call today. We are offering in-office as well as virtual office visits.